Toyota has recalled 7.4 million vehicles – including 138,000 in the UK - after concerns over faulty power-window switches.
The recall affects more than a dozen models made between 2005 and 2010, and is the latest in a series of embarrassing issues that have seen over 14 million Toyota vehicles returned in the last few years.
The latest problem affects the power-window switch on the driver's side, which didn't have grease applied evenly during production, causing friction and sometimes smoke from the switch.
No crashes or injuries have been reported related to the problem. But more than 200 problems were reported in US, and a fewer number of problems were reported elsewhere, including 39 cases in Japan, Toyota spokesman Joichi Tachikawa said. It is thought there was one reported case in the UK.
The sprawling recall applies to cars in the UK, US, Japan, Australia, China and elsewhere in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“It has come to our attention that on certain RAV4, Auris, Yaris and Corolla models built between September 2006 and December 2008 the possibility exists that the PWMS, located in the driver’s door, may over time begin to feel uneven or notchy when it is operated,” Toyota said in a statement on its UK website.
“Continued operation in this condition may cause the switch to stick or become inoperable.
”The switch is not designed to be lubricated with commercially available lubricants - application of these lubricants could lead to overheating and/or melting of the switch assembly.“
Recalled in North America are the Yaris, Corolla, Matrix, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia and Scion models xB and xD, spanning 2.47 million vehicles.
Some 460,000 vehicles are being recalled in Japan. The models are the Vitz, Belta, Ractis, Ist, Auris and Corolla Lumion. The Yaris, Corolla, Auris, Camry and Rav-4 are being recalled in Europe, totaling 1.39 million vehicles.
Toyota has been trying to fix its reputation after a series of massive recalls of 14 million vehicles over several years.
Before that, Toyota had boasted a reputation for pristine quality, centered around its super-lean production methods that empowered the worker to hone in on quality control. Toyota executives have acknowledged the escalating recalls were partly caused by the company's overly ambitious growth goals.